For this assignment, we were to show movement & the passing of time in one single frame. We were to experiment with shutter speed and attempt to perform “long exposure photography” in order to create movement blur and a sense of speed in the images.
For this assignment, I knew I needed the help of my good friend Everett. He loves riding dirt bikes, so we went to Bidwell Park to shoot some pictures. I knew I wanted the composition of my photo to be his bike fast in action, to create a dynamic looking scene. I was intending for my focal elements in my main photos to be his helmet, the bike wheels, and speed lines. I had some trouble with the natural lighting in my scene. We mostly shot photos from 4 pm to 6 pm, so the sun kept changing in intensity, and when we would move to a more shaded area of the park, I’d have to shop and adjust my camera settings. However, when I changed my camera settings from Manual to Shutter Priority, that helped a lot because I only had to worry about the shutter speed and the ISO speed.
Although I DO wish I had captured more “speed” in this photo (blurred backgrounds, speed lines, etc.), I really liked the composition and I thought the helmet and the wheels were sufficiently focal in the photo. And the subject is still moving, he is biking off of a small dip. After asking my teachers, they agreed the photo was adequate. So I booted up Photoshop and went to work!
I prefer editing the raw image all together right in Photoshop, so the above screenshot is the edits I dd that might that otherwise would not have shown up in the Photoshop layers. After fixing up my white balance, I made some very strong changes to the contrasts and shadows.
Since I did not have the obvious signs of motion in my photo like blurred backgrounds or speed lines, I figured the way to make my photo look more dynamic would be having high contrasts and deep shadows. I also had A TON of noise in my scene. To fix it, I put a reduce noise filter over my scene, with high strength and neither preserving nor sharpening any details.
After reducing the noise, I still was not completely happy with the photo. Though I liked the contrasts in my scene, I felt that the color was taking a lot away from the image. So I edited my photo with a Black & White layer. However, I kept the helmet blue because I thought it would bring more attention to my intended focal point in the scene. There were also very strong orange highlights I wanted to keep as well, but I didn’t really know how to keep them in effectively, so I elected to only keep the helmet in color. I think that keeping the color of the helmet helped my photo a lot. I feel that it snaps the viewers attention right away, and I think it highlights the composition of my photo.
With my professor’s advice, I also fixed up my curves, to make the blacks and whites in my scene ever more drastic. I then selected and sharpened the helmet and the bike wheels so they would look more focal in the scene. The sharpen tools I used were a bit subtle, but I think the little fix goes a long way for this image. I did not feel like I needed to crop the photo because I felt my photo followed the rule of thirds rather well.
I’m actually pretty proud of this image! I think this assignment helped be understand the relationship between shutter speed, exposure, and ISO speed rather well! That has been something I’ve been struggling to really “get” while I shoot photos. And I think I achieved the viewer’s eye to my focal point rather well. All in all, I’m happy with how this one turned out!